It is most unfortunate that the Hecale of Callimachus has not survived. Scanty as the fragments are, they indicate that the poem represented the Alexandrian school at its best and was the masterpiece of Callimachus himself. But apart from its artistic value it seems to have been the first true narrative epyllion, and to have served as a pronouncement on modern epic form by one who was recognised as a master. Thus it is of the greatest importance to the study of the epyllion. The remains of the Hecale are tantalising in the extreme. A considerable number of fragments survive, but frequently they consist only of single lines, parts of lines or isolated words. As they are mostly quoted in scholia or lexica, they are often quite valueless from the point of view of a reconstruction. The longer fragments preserved on a papyrus and the Rainer board are more helpful, but the textual difficulties at several points render interpretation hopeless. Certain details of plot and treatment can be gathered, but it is impossible to form any certain conclusion about the order of events or the method of their introduction. That guess-work in such a case is dangerous is clearly shown by the fact that the discovery of the Rainer fragment added to the poem a long incident which had not been taken into consideration in any previous reconstruction, although it was known to occur in the Hecale. On the other hand the mention of an incident does not necessarily imply that it was treated in full. The extant work of Callimachus is rich in allusions and there were probably many in the Hecale also.